Saturday, March 28, 2009

Early Work

This floral still life was set up by my mother, and I remember the joy of painting it. She was limited by her illness, and unable to practice her own artistic endeavors in any consistent way, but she was one of the most important teachers I have had.

She taught me to use watercolors, charcoal, conte crayon. I recall many instances of her setting me up to draw something, and giving me very good constructive criticism on my efforts. In conte crayon she would have me do drawings using colored charcoal paper and white crayon only. What lovely effects that produced. She had a collection of porcelain figures, and I recall drawing them with highlights only, and the magic of seeing the entire piece appear as the eye filled in the rest of the figurines.

Mother taught me to see nuances of color in skin, though I was blind to them for years. She would say, "look, there is green under the chin there!" I would stare and see only plain skin. It was similar to looking at books before I could read. The type was a plain grey block to my eye. Then later, when I began typesetting, letter shapes began to be visible to me; rather than simply conveying their meaning, they were an art unto themselves!

Mother believed in talent and did not convey to me the need for consistent and deliberate practice. It is late in life for me, but it is well worth doing even now. I have a lot to build upon, and this practice will enrich my work and my life considerably.

Thank you Young Geoffrion for your comment and your post on practice.

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